In April 2021, I decided it was time to break up with my phone after realizing my screen usage was much higher than I anticipated. After making a few changes, my screen time was nearly cut in half. Back then, the primary culprit that led to the overutilization of my phone was social media. To limit my time on social media I implemented a daily time limit for both Instagram and Facebook which helped me to be more conscious of how much I was using each app.
That small change made a significant impact and led me to consider what additional limits I might explore so that I could continue to change my relationship with social media. As I explored other ways to manage my social media usage, I knew that I didn’t want to give it up completely, but I could benefit from a break. As a result, I implemented No Social Media Sunday.
In theory, the practice is simple. On Sunday I don’t use Instagram or Facebook. I said in theory because when I started to implement this practice it was actually pretty challenging. I found myself constantly reaching for my phone and then reminding myself I wasn’t using social media that day. It was a hard habit to break and FOMO was the biggest hurdle to get over. Without the presence of Instagram or Facebook, I constantly felt like I was missing out on something. I think that’s one of the biggest traps of social media. It’s so easy to get caught up in the highlight reels of those we “know” that we lose sight of our own reality, which is often just as good, and just as worthy, as what we see online.
After a few weeks, I realized that I actually wasn’t missing much during my one day away from social media. Sure, I might not see the latest engagement or baby announcement right away, but I always see it eventually. Most Mondays, the notifications I am greeted with when I check Facebook or Instagram are meaningless (I don’t care that so and so commented on so and so’s photo). After several months of no social media Sunday, FOMO is rarely a thought now. If I do miss something significant my husband will likely fill me in.
I have come to appreciate and look forward to No Social Media Sunday. While I am thankful that apps like Facebook and Instagram have afforded me the opportunity to engage with new people, find encouragement and inspiration from others, learn new things, and share parts of my own life, my time away each week reminds me that those things are not more important than my own mental health and the connections I have the opportunity to build in real life. My one day absence from social media gives me the ability to focus my attention on my family. I pick up my phone less. I feel a sense of mental clarity. I’m less distracted. I am free from the comparison cycle. I feel lighter. I feel free.
With growing concerns about the impact of social media on mental health, we can all benefit from taking a break from our online lives, even if it’s for a few hours, a day, or an extended period of time. I plan to continue No Social Media Sunday and I hope my experience has inspired you to consider it as well.